Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

Title:Cinder and Ella
Author:Melissa Lemon
Publisher:Cedar Fort
Imprint:Bonneville Books
Pub. Date:11/08/2011

After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


This book takes a different approach to a very familiar story. Cinder and Ella are two different sisters with very different personalities. Their father begins to follow in the footsteps of the not-so-charming prince. He disappears and leaves Cinder and Ella with their mother and two sisters. The longer their father is gone, the worse their home life becomes. Their mother withdraws from the world, and she even merges the two girls in her head to create one "Cinderella." Their older sister becomes extremely self-involved while their younger sister becomes a brat. One day, Cinder gets a chance to escape by becoming a servant in the castle. Ella however can no longer take the miserable state of her home and runs away. Their stories then take two different directions, with evil princes and good knights leading the way. 

I loved the concept of people's life forces being connected to trees. Each person had a tree that represented them. The tree's health was directly related to the person's health. This made for an interesting aspect to the story. I also liked how things weren't wrapped up neatly, and people were held accountable for their choices. These added some realistic touches to a very fanciful story.

The writing felt a bit uneven at times. Sometimes it read a bit stiff, but other times it seemed to fit exactly with the fairy tale style. I think this book can appeal to a number of different age groups. It certainly takes a very familiar story and turns it on it's head. It makes me wonder what other fairy tales could use a good reworking. This book can help inspire some creative minds to see things in a whole new way.

Galley provided by publisher for review. 

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